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Larece Galer brings you the latest military news. To submit items for this column or the online listings, send them to: The News-Herald, Attn.: Larece Galer, 7085 Mentor Ave., Willoughby, OH 44094; fax to 440-975-2293; or via email to

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

High school senior walks with history

Mary Wessell became involved with the Ashtabula County Young Marines when it began five years ago. The involvement led the Geneva High School senior to a scholarship and a trip to Guam and Iwo Jima.
The trip and a $1,000 scholarship came after she was chosen as the outstanding female in the Young Marines program. Only 10 Young Marines nationwide are selected.
The trip allowed the high school senior to learn about the battles that took place on those two islands from World War II veterans of both sides at the 69th Anniversary Commemoration of the Battle of Iwo Jima.
“During my trip, I was truly walking with history,” Wessell said. “I learned more about World War II than I would from any history book.”
Wessell took advantage of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity by listening to the veterans’ stories.
“I noticed that each and every veteran was extremely humble, they did not believe they were heroes,” Wessell said. “They agreed that the true heroes were the ones who never returned home.”
Wessell learned firsthand what it was like on the island 69 years ago from those veterans. One U.S. Army veteran told stories as they walked together along the beaches. After the conversation, the veteran’s son told Wessell that it was the first time his father had ever spoken about the time he spent on the island.
Wessell intends to continue her education with a double major in political science and international relations while pursuing a career through the Navy or Air Force ROTC program.  She is the daughter of Kenny and Judy Wessell of Geneva and serves as the Ashtabula County Young Marines Unit sergeant major.

Fairport post serves breakfast
Lenten breakfast “Great Slam” at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7754 will be served 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays through April 13, at the post home, 540 New St. in Fairport Harbor. Adult breakfasts will be $6 and breakfast for children ages 10 years and younger will be $4. Takeout will be available. For details, call the post home at 440-352-1123.

Willowick Korean War veterans wanted
Korean War veterans living in Willowick are asked to contact the mayor’s office. The veterans will be invited to speak with eighth-graders at Willowick Middle School and share their experiences with the students. Call 440-585-3700 if you are interested in this project.

Men’s Auxiliary hosts dinner
The Men’s Auxiliary of VFW Post 2595, 570 Liberty St. in Painesville, will host a roast pork dinner from 5 to 8 p.m. March 29 at the post home. Dinners will be $10 each. For details, call the post at 440-354-9090.

Radio show to feature Vietnam veterans
The “LEGACIES” radio show at 9:30 a.m. Sundays on WELW-AM 1330 will present stories from veterans of the Vietnam War through the end of April. Stories have been forwarded to the Library of Congress for inclusion in the Veterans History Project. To participate in the project, call 440-255-7410.

Tri-C to offer financial guidance to vets
The Cuyahoga Community College Veterans Initiative will offer financial guidance to veteran and military families April 4 during an afternoon event at the Western Campus, 11000 Pleasant Valley Road in Parma. The free program “Balancing the Budget on the Home Front” will be 1 to 5 p.m. in Room A227 of the Health Careers Building. For more information, call the College’s Veterans Initiative at 216-987-3193.

Breakfast benefits Greater Cleveland Fisher House
Members of Kappa Sigma Chapter at Lake Erie College will volunteer their time to host a pancake breakfast as part of the organization’s Spring Semester International Day of Service. The breakfast will be served 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 5 at the First Church of Christ, 422 Mentor Ave. in Painesville. Proceeds of the breakfast will benefit Greater Cleveland Fisher House.

Catholic War Veterans membership drive begins
Catholic War Veterans Post 1959 will host a membership/poppy drive at Masses April 5 and 6, at St. Mary’s Chardon, 401 North St. in Chardon. Members must be practicing Catholics and have a direct relative who served honorably in the United States military. For details, call Ken Kirchner, second vice commander at 440-257-2156 or email

Burton post hosts breakfast
American Legion Post 459, 14052 Goodwin St. in Burton, will host a pancake and sausage breakfast 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. April 6. For details, call Bo at 440-834-8765.

Annual Oink and Squeal Party April 12
American Legion Post 459, 14052 Goodwin St. in Burton, will host the annual Oink and Squeal Party beginning at 5 p.m. April 12 at the post home. Raffle tickets are $2 each. Food will be available through the legion kitchen. Admission is a nonperishable food item or cash donation to benefit the local food bank. For tickets or details, call 440-834-8621.

Blessing of the Bikes at Willowick post
American Legion Post 678, 570 E. 328th St. in Willowick, will host a Blessing of the Bikes in the parking lot on April 13. The parking lot will open at 10:30 a.m. with the blessing at noon. The event will include vendors, food and music. All proceeds will help local veterans.

Auxiliary hosts annual Chinese auction
American Legion Auxiliary Unit 336, 60 Chester St. in Painesville, will host a Chinese auction at 1 p.m. April 13 at the post home. Tickets are $5 per person. Admission includes 10 auction tickets, dessert and coffee. Donations are being accepted. For details, call the post home at 440-357-7711.

To submit items for this column or the online listings, send them to: The News-Herald, Attn.: Larece Galer, 7085 Mentor Ave., Willoughby, OH 44094; fax to 440-975-2293; or via email to

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